October 8, 2023
Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Readings for Today
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” Matthew 21:42–43
The most amazing thing that has ever happened in this world is the death of the Son of God. It is amazing for many reasons. It’s amazing that God the Father allowed His Son to be brutally murdered by evil men. It’s amazing that the Son did not call upon the myriad of angels to stop His persecution. It’s amazing that Jesus spoke words of forgiveness from the Cross as His own mother looked on. But perhaps the most amazing aspect about this event is that from it, the gift of eternal salvation was made possible.
Only God, in His inconceivable wisdom and power, could bring forth the greatest good from the greatest evil. Nothing could be more evil than the brutal murder of the Son of God. And nothing could be more glorious than the transformation of that heinous act into the definitive act of salvation for the human race. Jesus was “the stone rejected by the builders.” But that rejected Stone was used by the Father to “become the cornerstone” of the new life of grace to which we are called.
The passage quoted above concludes the Parable of the Tenants, which outlines salvation history. The Father is the owner of the vineyard, which represents the people of Israel. The tenants were the religious leaders of the time who abused the prophets who were sent to gather the fruit of God’s Kingdom. The son is the Son of God whom the leaders of Israel killed under the misconception that killing Jesus would guarantee the continuation of their power. However, the true result was that they suffered their own destruction, and the murdered Son became the cornerstone of the Church and the source of new life.
Today, you are among the people to whom God has given charge of His new Vineyard, the Church. Of you, God demands an abundance of good fruit. Though the Church is entrusted to the pope, bishops and priests in a special way, it is also entrusted to the laity, each in their own way. Everyone must bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, and everyone will be held accountable for their stewardship.
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we have little to offer. If we were the pope, a bishop or even a priest, we could do great things for God. And though that is true, it is no less true that everyone is capable of bearing an abundance of good fruit for the Kingdom. And God expects that of us all. If you doubt that fact in any way, recall again the undeniable fact that the Father used the greatest evil ever committed to bring forth the greatest good ever known. If God can bring forth new life from death, then He can certainly use you in powerful ways. In fact, the weaker you are and the more insignificant you feel, the more God can use you to produce good fruit.
Reflect, today, upon the glorious fact that if God can use his own suffering and death to bring salvation to the world, He can also use you in ways that are beyond your imagination. You might not become a famous evangelist. You might not succeed in some well-recognized ministry. In fact, you might even encounter much suffering, persecution, and hardship throughout life. Regardless of your own life situation, God desires to use you for great things and to bear an abundance of good fruit for His Kingdom. Commit to that mission, and allow God to use you as a cornerstone of His grace in this world.
My Lord and Cornerstone of the Church, You were rejected by the leaders of Israel and were killed in the most horrific way. Yet in Your glorious power, You transformed that evil into the greatest good. I give to You my weaknesses and pains, my talents and labors; I give to You my entire life. Please use me and help me to share in Your life so that, with You, I may also become a cornerstone of Your grace as You desire. Jesus, I trust in You.